Yesterday, former Malt Maniac Luc Timmermans shared a most disturbing experience he had with the 7th December whisky auction at McTear’s. Some of the bottles he bought were opened, a fact that was not mentioned in the lot descriptions and not shown on the lot pictures. But when asked to have the bottles returned, a McTear’s representative refused this because the bottles had been “sold as seen”. Instead, Luc was encouraged to resubmit the bottles to a future auction.
I am no legal expert, so I cannot say, if the law is on McTear’s side or not. I have my doubts, though. Three things have gone very wrong here:
1. Accepting opened bottles in an auction opens the doors for fraud
This is probably the worst part. The failure to refuse opened bottles submitted for an auction raises serious doubts about the trustworthiness of the company. Anything could be in these bottles: Cheap supermarket whisky, tea, apple juice, you name it. McTear’s as a dump for brown liquid of dubious origin? That’s the impression one might get.
2. Blatantly insufficient lot description
Misdescribing auction lots in such a way that broken seals are not mentioned is beyond belief. Is this just sloppiness or is it deliberate misleading of the buyers?
3. Customer service: Zero
Dealing with complaints in such a manner sheds a very sombre light on the business principles of McTear’s. Instead of taking the concerns of their customer seriously they are shabby enough to try to squeeze even more money out of these flawed bottles. Losing a customer in such a way is the worst thing that can happen to a business. And who knows if this customer is the only one who is lost. A simple refund would have been much cheaper because it would have avoided this collateral damage to the reputation of the company.
17/02 – 9.30 GMT – Brian Clements, Managing Director at McTear’s just posted on the McTear’s Facebook page that the issue will be taken care of with a “satisfactory outcome for everyone”. The quick reaction has to be acknowlegdged. I dearly hope the company will also take precautions that ensure correct lot descriptions and flawed bottles not accepted for sale anymore in future actions.